Immigrate to Canada From Russia

May 27, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

As one of the world's most welcoming and multicultural countries, Canada has long been a preferred destination for immigrants seeking a better future. This includes immigrants from Canada's Russian community, whose immigration history spans from the early 20th century to significant surges following the Second World War and the Soviet Union's dissolution in the 1990s.

If you want to join Canada’s growing Russian community, we have got you covered. Our guide outlines the essential steps in immigrating to Canada from Russia, starting with researching and selecting the right immigration program for your goals and background. From popular options like the Express Entry System to provincial nominee programs and specialized immigration pilots, we'll look at Canada's diverse pathways to permanent residency. Lastly, we will highlight the various benefits of moving to Canada from Russia.

Ready to learn what it takes to immigrate to Canada from Russia? Then, join us as we uncover the streamlined pathways, benefits, and essential steps in immigrating to Canada from Russia with our detailed guide.

Russian Community in Canada

Canada's Russian community, exceeding 620,000 individuals according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, boasts a rich history shaped by waves of immigration. The early 20th century saw a trickle, followed by a larger influx after the Second World War. The most significant surge arrived after the Soviet Union's dissolution in the 1990s.

These vibrant communities are spread across Canada, with major concentrations in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Winnipeg. They actively preserve their heritage through various institutions. Churches serve as cultural hubs, offering religious services and fostering a sense of community. Language schools ensure the continuation of their mother tongue across generations.

Social organizations like the Russian Canadian Cultural Aid Society (RCCAS) play a vital role in cultural identity through events, advocacy, and social support. These efforts highlight the deep connection many Russian immigrants in Canada feel to their heritage.

How to Immigrate to Canada From Russia

Immigrating from Russia to Canada requires careful planning and understanding of the specific requirements. Here are the key steps involved in applying to immigrate to Canada from Russia.

Step 1: Research and Choose the Right Immigration Program For You

Canada offers various immigration programs catering to different backgrounds and goals. Here is a breakdown of some popular options for Russians.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry System point-based system is popular for skilled workers. It assesses your:

  • Skills,
  • Experience,
  • Education,
  • Language proficiency (English or French), and
  • Age.

A high Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score increases your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. You can calculate your CRS score using our CRS calculator.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Each Canadian province or territory (except Nunavut) has its own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) with specific requirements and priorities. These programs often target skilled workers in professions needed within the province. A nomination from a province significantly strengthens your Express Entry application or allows you to apply for permanent residence directly through the provincial program. Research PNP programs in provinces that align with your interests and skill set.

Beyond these popular options, consider the following permanent residency pathways.

Immigration Pilots

These temporary programs offer pathways to permanent residence for specific sectors or situations. Examples include the:

Business Immigration

If you are an entrepreneur or self-employed, programs like the Self-Employed or Start-up Visa Program might be suitable options. The Start-Up Visa Program grants permanent residency to qualified business immigrants who partner with designated Canadian organizations and have a minimum investment of 100,000 CAD.

The Self-Employed program is for individuals with relevant self-employment experience who wish to establish a business in Canada. If you want to settle permanently and apply your business skills in Quebec, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program allows high-net-worth individuals (1,600,000 CAD minimum) to obtain permanent residency by making an 800,000 CAD passive investment.

Learn about the most successful immigrant businesses in Canada.

Family Sponsorship

If you have a close family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to sponsor you for immigration. The Family Sponsorship programs cover various categories of family members that can be sponsored, including your:

Learn more about three easy ways to move to Canada with your family.

Canada Work Permits

If you are ineligible to apply for a permanent residency pathway, you can apply for a Canadian work permit. A Canadian work permit is required for foreign nationals to work in Canada. There are two main types of Canadian work permits: employer-specific and open work permits.

The employer-specific work permit is tied to a specific employer, while an open work permit allows working for any employer in Canada, except for certain ineligible employers. Canadian work permits can lead to permanent residency under certain conditions, such as through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Learn more about going from a Canadian work permit to permanent residency in Canada in five easy steps.

Step 2: Assess Your Eligibility to Apply

Once you have chosen your preferred program(s), carefully assess your eligibility based on the specific requirements. This involves evaluating factors such as your:

  • Age,
  • Education,
  • Work experience,
  • Language proficiency, and
  • Adaptability.

Pay close attention to the specific requirements the chosen program outlines to ensure you meet the criteria before proceeding. Some of the ways you can improve your eligibility include:

  • Boost your language skills: Improving your English or French proficiency through standardized tests like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) can significantly increase your CRS score.
  • Gain relevant work experience: Focus on acquiring work experience in fields in demand within Canada.
  • Pursue additional education: Obtaining higher qualifications (diplomas or degrees) can strengthen your application, especially for some PNP programs.

Step 3: Gather the Required Documents

Start collecting essential documents early on. These may include:

  • Educational transcripts: Translated into English or French by a certified translator if necessary, and if they are foreign qualifications, they must be validated via Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • Proof of work experience: Letters from employers, pay stubs, or other documents demonstrating your work history.
  • Medical exam certificate Issued by a doctor approved by Canadian immigration,
  • Police clearance certificates: From Russia and any other countries you have lived in for more than six months,
  • Proof of fundsDemonstrates your financial support upon arrival in Canada,
  • Passport and birth certificate: Originals or certified copies.

Learn more with the Canadian immigration document checklist.

Step 4: Pay the Application Fees And Submit Your Application

Immigration applications involve processing fees. The exact amount varies depending on the program and your application's number of family members. However, in general, a Canadian permanent residency application costs 1,525.00 CAD, according to the Canadian government.

Learn more about how much it costs to immigrate to Canada.

Step 5: Prepare for Interviews and Assessments

Depending on your chosen program, you might be invited for an interview or required to undergo additional assessments.


These are typically conducted by immigration officers to verify the information provided in your application and assess your suitability for immigration. Be prepared to answer questions about your background, skills, and future plans in Canada.

Skills Assessments

Certain professions might require completing skills assessments to ensure your qualifications meet Canadian standards.

Step 6: Landing and Settlement in Canada

If your application is successful, you will receive a permanent resident visa. This allows you to enter Canada and begin your new life. However, the journey doesn't end there. Here are some additional considerations:

Pre-arrival planning

While waiting for your visa, research essentials like housing options, healthcare systems, and living costs in your chosen Canadian city.

Settlement services

Many Canadian communities offer settlement services to help newcomers integrate. These can include language training, employment assistance, and cultural orientation programs.

Learn more about the top settlement services to help newcomers in Canada.

Building a new life

Adjusting to a new country can be challenging. Be patient, embrace the experience, and connect with your local community and support networks.

How Moving to Canada From Russia Can Benefit You

For many Russians, Canada presents a compelling destination. Beyond its breathtaking landscapes, Canadian permanent residency offers many benefits that can significantly enhance your quality of life. Here are some of the key advantages of immigrating to Canada from Russia:

Strong Economy and Job Market in Canada

Canada boasts a robust and diversified economy, consistently ranking high regarding job growth and stability. This translates to ample opportunities for skilled workers across various sectors. Depending on your field, you might find better job prospects and potentially higher salaries than in Russia. Canada’s higher salaries compared to Russia are reflected below, with average monthly net salary figures from Numbeo.

Countries Average Monthly Net Salary After Tax (CAD)
Canada 3,925.59
Russia 785.50

Learn more about Canada’s strong economy and job market with Canada’s Job Bank.

High Quality of Life in Canada

Canada consistently ranks top in global quality-of-life indexes, ranking 6 out of 168 countries in the Social Progress Index. This encompasses universal healthcare, a well-funded education system, clean air and water, and strong infrastructure. These aspects contribute to a healthy and secure environment for you and your family.

Stable Political Climate and Safety in Canada

Canada is renowned for its political stability and low crime rates, ranking 12 out of 142 countries on factors such as open government, order and security, and fundamental rights by the World Justice Project. This provides a sense of security and allows you to focus on building a future without the anxieties associated with political unrest. Canada’s social and political stability is further reinforced by its position as the 11th most peaceful country in the world, according to Statista.

Access to Affordable Educational Opportunities in Canada

Canada offers a world-class education system with a reputation for affordability compared to other developed nations in the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This opens doors for your children to pursue higher education at prestigious universities or colleges, investing in their future success. Canada also offers the following scholarships for newcomers and international students.

Social Benefits in Canada

Canada provides a social safety net through programs like unemployment insurance, healthcare coverage, and parental leave provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). These social benefits alleviate financial anxieties and ensure basic needs are met, creating a sense of security and well-being.

Learn more about Canada’s social benefits via its Social Insurance Number.

Path to Canadian Citizenship

After residing in Canada as a permanent resident for a set period, you can apply for Canadian citizenship. Canadian citizenship grants you full political rights, allows you to travel freely on a Canadian passport, and opens doors to further opportunities.

Learn more about how to become a Canadian citizen.

Beautiful Natural Environment in Canada

Canada boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, with vast opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and camping. This pristine environment offers a chance to connect with nature and enjoy an active lifestyle. You can explore Canada’s natural beauty through its national parks, which include:


What Support Services Are Available for Russian Immigrants in Canada?

Russian immigrants in Canada can access various support services, including language training, employment assistance, housing support, healthcare information, and cultural orientation programs, to help them integrate successfully into Canadian society.

How Long Does the Immigration Process Take From Russia to Canada?

The duration of the immigration process from Russia to Canada varies depending on factors such as the type of visa or program, the volume of applications, and individual circumstances, with processing times ranging from several months to over a year.

Learn more about IRCC processing times.

What Are The Challenges of Immigrating to Canada From Russia?

Challenges of immigrating to Canada from Russia may include navigating complex immigration procedures, adapting to a new culture and environment, securing employment opportunities, and overcoming language barriers. Still, with proper preparation and determination, these obstacles can be overcome to transition successfully.